Inez Milholland Memorial by Inez Haynes Gillmore ~ Christmas 1916

The Story of the Woman’s Party
by Inez Haynes Gillmore

The most poignant event — and perhaps the most beautiful in all the history of the Congressional Union — took place on Christmas Day of this year, the memorial service in memory of Inez Milholland. Inez Milholland was one of the human sacrifices offered on the altar of woman’s liberty. She died that other women might be free.  p 184

That Christmas Day, Statuary Hall in the Capitol of the United States was transformed. The air was full of the smells of the forest. Greens made a background — partially concealing the semi-circle of statues — at the rear; laurel and cedar banked the dais in front; somber velvet curtains fell about its sides. p 185

Every one of the chairs which filled the big central space supported a flag of purple, white, and gold. Between the pillars of the balcony hung a continuous frieze; pennants of purple, white, and gold — the tri-color of these feminist crusaders.
The audience assembled in the solemn quiet proper to such an occasion, noiselessly took their seats in the semi-circle below and the gallery above. The organ played Ave Maria. Then again, a solemn silence fell. Suddenly the stillness was invaded by a sound — music, very faint and faraway. It grew louder and louder. It was the sound of singing. It came nearer and nearer. It was the voices of boys. Presently the beginning of a long line of boy choristers, who had wound through the marble hall way, appeared in the doorway.

They marched into the hall chanting:
Forward, out of error,
Leave behind the night, 
Forward through the darkness, 
Forward into light.

 

The full book is available FREE online.

December 24th, 2016|Inez, Inez Biography|

Great Suffragist Falls *Los Angeles* October 23, 1916

Illness Ends Campaign Tour
of Inez Milholland Boissevain

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Standing room only at Blanchard Hall, Inez spoke passionately.  “President Wilson, how long must women wait for liberty?  Let me repeat, we are not putting our faith in any man or in any party but in the women voters of the West.”  Exhausted, she fell appearing to faint.  Helped off the stage, she returned and continued assailing President Wilson and answered a few questions.   The crowd had no way of knowing but this would be her last public speech. Spending the night at the Hotel Alexandria, Inez worsened.  On the morning of October 24, 1916, she entered Good Samaritan Hospital.

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October 24th, 2016|Inez, Inez Biography|

Celebrating Inez Milholland’s Birthday in Lewis, New York by Filmmaker, Martha Wheelock   

inez cake full A small town creates a big event for a great woman.  In so doing, the townsfolk and neighboring denizens discover for themselves, not only their history but, more importantly, find pride and inspiration in their hero.  I was invited to Lewis,  New York for a celebration of Inez Milholland’s 130th Birthday where I would present my new film, Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light with a Q & A afterwards.  Before the film a local historian would be revealing her research on the history of the Milholland Family in Lewis.

lewis church LS

History talks can often turn to recitation of dates, primogeniture and be-gots but this local, curious, authentic researcher of Lewis and Milholland history shared everything she found about the Milhollands, with humor, enthusiasm and rich resources.  My understanding of Inez’s background was filled out with real flesh!  Instead of a few scattered souls at the Lewis Congregational Church for this event, the church, albeit, small, was filled with an attentive audience.

They loved and cheered the Inez film, and asked good questions.  They told me how someone over the past weeks had been coming up to the cemetery where the Milhollands were buried.  They had been setting the markers a-straight,  weeding and clearing grass from all the stones, and cleaning the gravestones. It must be angels, I remarked seriously!

When I announced that copies of the Inez Film on DVD’s were for FREE, they held their breath: is that really so?  Can I really have one to show my grandchildren who grew up here?  I want to take one to the 6th grade teacher whose great-grandmother knew Inez’s Mother. What a joy to give out those films!

cake and martha 1Then we all, yes all the congregation, adjourned to the big cozy kitchen for Inez’s birthday cake, complete with her portrait, and adorned with a “statuette of a woman on a white horse, with a sash vote for women, which one of the church ladies had made.  It was a glorious cake to honor Inez.  Another church lady had made 30 cupcakes, with stars on them, to surround the cake. It was a very touching moment and everyone who would admit this, felt the energy of the evening.

The next day, Inez’s actual birthday, August 6, my sister and I first visited Meadowmount, the very large 34 room home that John E. Milholland, Inez’s father, built at the height of his wealth – ostensible to give poor children from the inner cities , a summer place to retreat among animals and healthful country living.  John ‘s intentions were not realized actually, as he lost his wealth carelessly, and the family then lived both in London and New York much more modestly, within John’s newspaper salary.

meadowmount

Today the buildings are the MEADOWMOUNT SCHOOL OF MUSIC, one of the finest and intense practicum for strings and piano.  There studied and taught  such teachers as Jascha Heifetz, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma,  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Paul Zukofsky and hundred others. It is still such an esteemed school.

There I met Mary Macgowan, a director and another fine local historian who shared more Milholland history with me.  A wider and deeper picture of what forces helped to form Inez’s ethics and energy emerged more than any biography I had read.

lewis church

The most moving visit during that trip was to meditate and absorb Inez at her actual grave.  The cemetery plot, which previously had been mysteriously cleaned and cleared, had indeed been manicured, but by arrangements from John A Milholland, Inez great nephew, whose father was descendent of John A, Inez’s brother, the only child to produce progeny.

grave & martha side closerThe red rose I placed on Inez’s grave was in keeping with the how she was viewed as a great American Beauty. When her coffin arrived from Los Angeles, into the town of Lewis for burial, her father had adorned it with 2 dozen red roses.

Inez had a younger sister (also buried there), Vida, who traveled with Inez and carried on Suffrage work after Inez’s death.  In fact Vida was arrested and went on a hunger strike in 1917, following in her sister’s spirit.

vida

Vida never married but lived the last 30 years of her life with a woman companion, caring for her mother in one of their residence  They were always plagued with financial worries and she committed suicide in 1952.  The whole family was rested on the top of the hill, looking out over the meadows toward the great Green Mountains of Vermont, across Lake Champlain. What a beautiful spot.

The Friday event extended beyond the folks of Lewis.  As we covered three counties, giving away the DVD to libraries, historical museums, even hotels and civic centers in Essex and Clinton Counties, Plattsburgh and Elizabethtown, great appreciation was express by those who received this FREE DVD.  The recipients felt honored as all we met knew Inez’s name and were familiar with her short life’s story. They treasured the fact that she was a local girl, who did more than just ride a white horse and die at age 30 from working too hard on the campaign for Women’s Suffrage.  She was their Hero.

August 21st, 2016|Inez, Inez Biography, News Stories|

Who is that Lady on the White Horse?

1913C-3-3-Grey-Dawn-lgMost know this famous rider but don’t know her name: Inez Milholland.  Very few know her story.  She was American Amazon who broke convention with her striking conscience.  She was an advocate for gender equality, pacifism, racial justice, unions and free speech.

Her dedication was emboldened with a degree from Vassar, NYU Law Degree and admission to the New York Bar.

She captured headlines and mesmerized audiences as she proved that voting rights appealed, not just to “brainy women,” but to all women, “ladies” and beauties as well.  Most famously, she led the 1913 Suffrage Parade on her horse, Gray Dawn; risking all as she rode directly into the masses of violent disapproving men. White cape, gloves and a crown, Inez became the Suffrage Movement’s very own Joan of Arc, the national iconic figure for VOTES FOR WOMEN.

Overcoming her insecurity of public speaking, she evolved into the voice of suffrage.  In 1916, at the request of the National Woman’s Party, Inez traveled across the country, giving 50 speeches in 28 days through  nine  Western states where women COULD vote. .  Never complaining, never hesitating, she collected herself, and rose to speak again and again.

Fighting through exhaustion, anemia, severe dental infections and persistent tonsillitis, she fell at the podium October 23,1916 at Blanchard Hall in Los Angeles.  Her last public sentence, “President Wilson, how long must women wait for liberty?  With that emotional plea and clear statement, Inez fell from the podium, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where she died 30 days later.  She was only 30 years old.

June 3rd, 2016|Inez Biography|

The wait is over! Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light is done.

Sleeve-Disk-Combo-1-ClearThe dream started long ago.  Filmmaker, Martha Wheelock loved Inez Milholland and wanted to tell Inez’s story to the women and girls of the U.S.  It rose to the surface with the Centennial of Inez’s massive cross-country tour of 1916 and converged with the upcoming celebration of the Centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020: Women’s right to vote.

Inspiration caught Martha’s eye when the Southern Poverty Law Center made a short documentary, Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot.   Their film celebrates the Voting Rights Act and is distributed for free.   It is their call to cast the vote.

And now you can order Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light for free.  We hope you will show it to students, organizers, house-parties, everywhere voters meet.   We want you to discover the heart and spirit of Inez and honor her memory with your precious vote.

June 1st, 2016|Inez Biography, the Documentary|